I know I found early challenges in PA, from store, or barkeep (guarding for restaurant); I’ve had experiences that were definitely aimed at denying me access.
I’d like to hear some examples, and role play and information what you have all learned about having resolving these tensions?
Please comment; we’re all pioneers here. Lets help each other, what is happening to your SDteam as you do public access?
At 17mos together Mo and I passed several PA classes, each class had an exam. Each class a pre-requisite for the next class. I did attend college for K9 classes as well. Mo and I were young but experienced also.
My family drove MySD and I with to a nice restaurant 2 hours away. An upscale snooty place for Grad Students where my kids hang out. A sea of NERDS! Pretty exciting for me.
My friends and family went in ahead of me,to get a table while Mo and I suited up, relieved him, watered him, and otherwise readied ourselves.
I walk into the restaurant we are in full work mode; Mo and I are wearing black, white and red. BOTH OF US.
Bartender stops my progress to the patio. to me “you can’t walk through the bar area to get to the restaurant.!”
with attitude in my face. I’m still smiling a convincing smile, and I looked at the dog, and back up at him. Mo is following this like a tennis match and is right between my feet as he senses the trouble.
I looked up at his arms folded across his chest. I said OK; how else might I meet my family who is seated on your patio? He told me to go to the alley and let myself in the chain link fencing. This is 101-degree southwest, lunchtime a little late, I’m diabetic, and the gate was locked!
What would you do? The possibilities are more important than my personal response to that situation. What you think to do is much more important. so please respond before scrolling down.
I’ll tell you the end of my story. But please comment how you might navigate what now has become a felt crisis. Write your observations or responses THEN; scroll down after you have responded, OK?
By this time I couldn’t work the lock, I felt foggy, a little bullied, and winded, and a little scared for the low and heat-stressed.
I remember staggering from heat, going low… So I got my phone out maybe to dial for help. I walked to the front of the building and took a few selfies. To have a record of this incident.
I buried a shoulder accidentally on the door jam and everyone in the rickety building felt a little something from the bump. Back to the bartender and asked for ice water. I looked like a heat zombie, I’m soaked in sweat, and obviously in distress, that is if I read his expression right.
I leaned over the bar so we couldn’t be overheard and said: “brother, You’d better think beyond this job, you might be done here before I am.”
I sighed, and felt empathy for him actually, even though he just returned a thousand mile stare.
May I tell you some things that will lower the probability of drama?
Please select a delightful member of your staff to show me the way to my family’s table. Yeah I’m an old geezer, so if it’s possible, arrange for a pitcher of cold water to be there, and I’ll do what I can to avoid the ambulance; how does that sound?
I don’t need propping up, but I would like to enjoy your great menu with my family ASAP, please. And water.
Talk about hard to train: the guy begins to ponder what to do, When
from both sides people all dressed up nicely appear. One was nice to me, and someone else is talking to the bartender.
I was guided to our table where there was indeed a pitcher of water there. They offered to pay for our lunch and the apologies ran long. I tried to be gracious and didn’t accept anything else. Expressed my gratitude for them coming up to speed. And handled the check as a totally separate and normal matter.
I never want to have conflict like that. My hope was to have late lunch with my family. And I’m new to spinal injury, I’m also new to SD handling.
I’ve no idea if I handled that right. The precious Millenials at my table were ready to lynch someone. At the time I was just happy for the shade and water and that my dog was OK. I did treat my low at the locked chain link; first by squirting applesauce from my fanny pack. Then after Mo still was upset I remembered to turn off insulin. And order something to eat even though I couldn’t feel hunger.
For all PA challenges I approach it first as an educational moment. I try to be understanding and acknowledge that it is confusing that some people have IDs, or that some “service dogs” are ill-behaved, but then explain what the laws really are. I also recommend having ADA cards in your dog’s vest or in your wallet that you can always hand them out.
I have had very few access challenges in all the years I’ve had DADs and I’m very grateful for that. The one that was the most difficult was at my university in an eating establishment/grocery store environment. In that situation, I explained politely and the employee was not having it – did not care about the law and said “I’m the manager so I get to make the rules”. In that situation, I calmly insisted that I was permitted to stay and he said that I’m not allowed to stay but he gave up and walked away. I then called the disability office at the school since they run the store, and explained the situation. And if it had been a typical store I would have called whoever ran that store. It’s very stressful to be denied access, but I’ve found the majority of the time a calm explanation and being understanding goes a long way. And when it doesn’t, then I view it as an educational opportunity and to help those after me not have to go through it. A grocery store that I visit frequently tried to deny me access the first few times I entered with my service dog in training, but I explained each time to them and I haven’t had a problem since then. So it does make a difference eventually!
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